La Jolla Seawatch – Buller's Shearwater, Dec 02, 2018

Gary Nunn

After a windy night many birders assembled at La Jolla to seawatch.

There were much less loons and scoters passing south.  Highlights included a 30+ count of Common Murre, and a slow pass, at medium-far distance, of a BULLER'S SHEARWATER also going south.  It was a bit too far for photography although I did hear one camera shutter going.  So maybe some photos will appear.  I just enjoyed watching my first Buller's Shearwater sighting from land and forgot about the camera.

Gary Nunn,
Pacific Beach

Sunset Ave. ballpark WEKI

Jeff Spaulding

     After missing out on the Lesser Black-backed Gull, we decided to hit a few locations in the Tijuana River Valley. I was carefully checking the kingbirds on the lines along Sunset. I noticed one was more pale than the others and assumed it was a Tropical. We parked at the middle baseball diamond and walked back to the bird in question. The lighter gray head and chest with less contrasting white throat ruled out Cassin's and Tropical. The back had a greenish wash. the tail was not notched and the bill seemed too short for a Tropical. When it flew, I was able to see the white outer edges of the outer rectrices. Crystal was able to get some photos of the undertail. Photos on eBird:

     Nothing much to report to at the Bird and Butterfly Garden. Very quiet. The highlight was two freshly hatched Pond Sliders that the park ranger had found digging their was out of their nest. 

     The main pond at Dairy Mart Ponds was busy but nothing out of the ordinary.
Jeff Spaulding
San Diego, CA

Re: Harris’s Hawk -escaped?

Marcie Mason

The Hotel Del Coronado uses a Harris's Hawk to keep the Gulls and Pigeons away from the grounds and restaurants.  Here is an article about it if you want to learn more.
Marcie Mason

On Sunday, December 2, 2018, 3:23:35 PM PST, thomasf_h <thomas.fordhut@...> wrote:

I forgot to mention in my previous post that Steve Sosensky found a Harris’s Hawk this morning on the roof of the Hotel Del Coronado with bands on both legs.  While the bird lacked jesses, the bands were not consistent with USGS-looking bands.  Presumably this is an escaped falconry bird.  Something to be mindful of if you see a Harris’s Hawk in the area or happen to have lost one recently.

Tom Ford-Hutchinson
San Diego, CA

Re: Two Little Stints in saltworks pond 23

Matt Sadowski

On 12/2/2018 2:49 PM, Matt Sadowski wrote:
Today (12/2) I was checking on "the" Little Stint on the pond 23 island in saltworks. At the north end of the island amongst Ring-billed Gulls I photographed a more uniformly plumaged Little Stint that showed browner and longer tertials and less contrasty wing coverts than the relatively "easy-to-see" contrasty Little Stint. With the longer and browner tertials and less contrasty wing coverts this bird will probably be near impossible to pick out from the bike path. The contrasty Little Stint that is often foraging on the south section of the island was in the same pond but briefly roosting in the far SE corner and then foraging along the E shore of the pond. I'm not sure how the viewing from the bike path is for this new SE location for the "easy" stint but it obviously likes the long island in the SW corner of the pond and will hopefully continue to appear there. It wouldn't be the first time it left the island to fly to harder-to-scope areas in the pond.

This more uniform stint is probably the same bird that I and two others photographed on 11/20 (I had my suspicions then) and is also probably the same bird Charlie Jackson photographed over a month ago on the 10/20 Audubon walk. That would make it the 2nd county record. The contrasty stint I found on 11/16 that everyone is able to pick out from the bike path would be the 3rd county record.

Photos later.

Matt Sadowski
La Mesa

miscellanea, including 'new' T.K. and Black-and-white

On Monday the 3rd, there was a new Black-and-white Warbler, Western Tanager, and Bullock's Oriole bordering the golf course in Coronado, as well as another Bullock's Oriole elsewhere in town. (Also a futile one-hour search in the AM for the Lesser B-b Gull.) On Sunday the 2nd, a Bullock's Oriole was off Soledad Ave. in La Jolla. And on Saturday, the 1st, a Tropical Kingbird was loosely associated with Cassin's near the YMCA just a couple blocks northwest of the bottom end of Famosa Slough. This is likely the same individual reported from around the slough on several occasions during the fall (though not recently) and which is partly-assumed to be a returning bird from last year. Two Bullock's Orioles were nearby off Voltaire.

Also, on Sunday the 2nd, the Ross's Goose continues at the Fairbanks Ranch horse pastures--fide B. Carlson.

--Paul Lehman, San Diego

Lesser Black Backed gull at Hotel Del Coronado

Stephen Ellis

Monday December 3

I got there at 8 am and spent 3 hours looking for it with no luck, 3 other birders left and after walking around 
the hotel, I decided to check the beach one more time, I was walking toward the jetty when I saw another
birder scoping the ocean and while going towards her (I forget her name already)  I glanced at the jetty
and there it was. After calling her attention to it  we were able to get very close to it for great views. It sat
on top of the jetty for about 15 minutes then flew down to lower mussel clam covered rocks in the splash
zone where it picked/fed on something till noon them flew back up to the red roofed building at the south
end of the hotel.

I think the key to finding this bird is to get to the jetty as the tide is going out maybe a couple of
hours before low tide. It was occasionally hard to see when it hopped down into the the rocks near the
water on the south west end of the jetty. It was feeding there almost an hour before several western 
gulls came over and started competing with it for the best rocks.

I was able to call over several other birders who were walking around the beach nearby and some of
them were able to get great pictures.

Steve Ellis

Gr W-F Goose, Lake Cuyamaca, 3 Dec 2018

Paul Chad

Not much in numbers or variety of waterfowl today at the lake, but a Greater White-fronted Goose was there, just after lunchtime.

Did other spots in Cuyamaca Park, also brief visits to W Heise Park, Santa Ysabel Mission, and Highland Valley Rd area - nothing else of note.

Paul Chad
University City

Lost camera lens found

Aedyn Loefke

Hi all.
A camera lens was found by the little stint viewing spot in Imperial Beach. If anyone knows anything about it
or lost a lens while birding, please email us back with a description of the lens.

Thank you.


Visiting Birder


Hi all,

If you were "forced" to recommend the top 2-3 places to bird around San Diego (I will be staying in Mission Bay, but will have a car), where would you suggest? I only have 1.5 days, so can you suggest your favorite areas? 

I will be visiting from Idaho, so a warm winter with birds is very foreign. ha ha.

Thank you!
Jessica Pollock
Bellevue, Idaho

Lesser Black-backed Gull continues 12-4-18

Elizabeth Copper

Following the suggestion that the bird’s appearance might be tide-related I was pleased to see it pop up on the jetty around 11:15. It then moved around a bit landing briefly on the tidal flats in front of the lifeguard tower and eventually returned to the jetty. Still present around 12:20. Seen by multiple observers.

Elizabeth Copper

Re: Visiting Birder


I would suggest going to Dairy Mart Pond on Dairy Mart Rd & the Bird & Butterfly Garden on Hollister

Sonja Beevé                        
(Luna Nightwynd)

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 1:30:00 PM PST, Jessica Pollock <Jessicapollock@...> wrote:

Hi all,

If you were "forced" to recommend the top 2-3 places to bird around San Diego (I will be staying in Mission Bay, but will have a car), where would you suggest? I only have 1.5 days, so can you suggest your favorite areas? 

I will be visiting from Idaho, so a warm winter with birds is very foreign. ha ha.

Thank you!
Jessica Pollock
Bellevue, Idaho

Hooded Mergansers, Tri colored Heron

David Povey

I had two or possible three female type Hooded Mergansers in the San Diego River Flood Control Channel about 11:30 this morning.

The birds were east of West Mission Bay Dr. Bridge, in a narrow portion of the channel west of the turn in off Sea World Dr.

Also had the continuing Tricolored Heron at Famosa Slough at the north east corner of the main basin south of W. Point Loma Blvd. That at about 12:30.


Dave Povey


Borrego Springs to Jacumba, Tuesday

On Tuesday the 4th, Barbara Carlson and I did a loop out to Borrego Springs, Agua Caliente County Park, and Jacumba. Highlights at Borrego included a PLUMBEOUS VIREO, White-breasted Nuthatch, COMMON GOLDENEYE (very rare in the Anza-Borrego area), 2 Hooded Mergansers, Canvasback, Redhead, Snowy Egret, and a stakeout Greater White-fronted Goose.  Also good numbers of robins and waxwings, and a very good total of 30 N. Flickers. At Agua Caliente we had an immature WHITE-THROATED SPARROW with the White-crowneds, And at Jacumba, there was a "PINK-SIDED" Junco, "Slate-colored" Junco, and Mountain Chickadee.

--Paul Lehman, San Diego

NAB - Fall 2018

Guy McCaskie

County Coordinators/Contributors:

The Fall Season (1 August through 30 November 2018) is ended, and we solicit reports for inclusion in the Southern California Region of NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. Reports should be arranged with species in the taxonomic order followed by the American Ornithologists Union (Check-List of North American Birds 1998 and all Supplements) and the American Birding Association (7th edition of the ABA Checklist, 2009 revised through the current report). Reports of species included on the California Bird Records Committee (CBRC) review list

must be accompanied by documentation (written description, photographs, etc.).
Similar documentation should also accompany reports of species unusual for
the location or season. Full names, with all initials, should be used in the
reports (this reduces the potential for different observers having the same
initials, and makes it simpler to acknowledge contributors) – John P. Doe in lieu of John Doe.

Reports should be sent to the appropriate County Coordinators (listed below)
or directly to Guy McCaskie by 30 December 2018. NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS can not exist without your input.

David Compton (Santa Barbara County)

Tom M. Edell (San Luis Obispo County)

Kimball L. Garrett (Los Angeles County)

Chet McGaugh (Riverside County)

Kelli K. Heindel (Kern County)

Tom and Jo Heindel (Inyo County)


Adam Searcy (Ventura County)

Alexander E. Koonce (San Bernardino County)

Guy McCaskie (San Diego and Imperial County)

Ryan S. Winkleman (Orange County) 

We thank you in advance for your time and effort.

Guy McCaskie and Kimball L. Garrett.


Balboa Park West side

Nathan French

I birded Balboa Park this morning for a couple hours before the rain came. Highlights included a continuing Taiga Merlin and a Summer Tanager near the Lawn Bowling area, and a Tropical Kingbird near the Chess Club. Also near the Chess Club was an angry man yelling homophobic slurs at me, and threatening to crack my skull, so be safe if you go looking for these birds. Here’s a link to the checklist:

Nathan French

[Possible/likely] rusty blackbird, Sports Arena Blvd.

Stan Walens

I was driving in the parking lot in front of the Target on Sports Arena Blvd this morning at about 11:30 when I spotted an ochre-colored blackbird in the midst of a small group of Brewer’s blackbirds on the side of the road in one of the little grassy areas.
My immediate sense was that it was a female rusty blackbird. All I could see of it in the few seconds I drove past it, besides the reddish coloration, was a pale eye, pale throat and pale supercilium.
But by the time I found a parking place and went back to look for the bird, the flock had moved to another part of the parking lot.

I did not have binoculars with me, but walked the parking lot for 30 minutes or so in the rain trying to re-find the bird.
The flock of somewhere between 60-90 blackbirds was very active.
A lot of the time they roosted on the roof of the Ross department store, but they flew all over the parking lot in that general area.
Traffic in the parking lot was heavy, and by a little after 12:00 the rain was coming down hard enough to make visibility terrible.

My suggestion, if you go to look for this bird, is to go early, before the stores open and the parking lot overflows with SUVs.

As you know, sometimes [rarely?] Brewer’s blackbirds can have a rusty plumage, and I did not have enough of a look at the bird to be sure it was not one of these unusual-plumaged Brewer’s blackbirds.

Stan Walens, San Diego
Dec 5, 2018; 2:25 pm

Morley Field 12-7-18

Eric Kallen

I looked around the ballfields at Morely Field this morning.  They are prepping for a national championship cross-country even this weekend, so access will be limited.

Wilson's Snipe - one bird associating with killdeer in the middle of the large fenced ballfield ( not the college field)
American Pipit
Lark Sparrow - one bird with the small mixed flock of western BBs, yellow-rumps and song sparrows.

Eric Kallen

Lesser Black-backed Gull at Coronado Del hotel still as of 12/7 8:30 to 9:15 am.

terry hurst

The Gull is still in area. Was hanging out and feeding at shore line between life station 2c and 3c.
Terry Hurst

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Lesser Black-back Gull

Mike Wittmer

still present south of life guard tower

Tennessee, Baltimore, 2 Hoodeds, Summer, dark-lored White-crowned

On Friday morning the 7th, I birded a number of spots in UTC in eastern La Jolla and had several reasonable birds. The best was a Tennessee Warbler that is in heavily blooming pink-flowered eucalyptus trees over the chain-link fence that forms the southeast boundary of Doyle Community Park, near the fenced-in dog run. The yellow-rumped warblers here are merciless in their chasing everything out of the trees so I would guess the Tennessee is going to have to be very sneaky to survive there. At the very western edge of Doyle Park in a flock of White-crowneds there is an adult dark-lored white-crowned sparrow, very rare along the coast. Presumably of the subspecies oriantha. By the way, my auto-spell-correct just changed dark-lored to Dark Lord, so I guess we can refer to this bird as Darth Vader....

Also this morning in UTC there is a full adult male Baltimore Oriole in the pink flowered eucalyptus tree at the corner of Camino Raposa and Camino Calma, which is off of Arriba Street a short block from the nice little Genesee Highlands HOA park. And there was a young male Summer Tanager in the park at the corner of Towne Center Drive and Renaissance Avenue.

Yesterday afternoon I finally saw the Lesser black-backed gull in Coronado, and as has been the case recently it was on the jetty in front of the hotel close to low tide.

On Wednesday the 5th, within a half-mile or so of the San Diego Mission I had a flock of four orioles which contained two Hooded Orioles, one of which was an adult male and one was a female, and two Bullock's; as well as a black-throated gray warbler which has returned to the same trees for at least five or six winters now, and a Red-naped Sapsucker.

-- Paul Lehman,. San Diego

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